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Friday Evening Open Thread

There are great Michael Jackson videos on all the music channels this weekend. I can't believe Comcast doesn't have a live MTV HD channel. Anyway, you can watch online above. MTV is doing a tribute to him this evening, but there are too many interviews. Better to watch online, or one of the other channels.

The autopsy showed no signs of foul play or trauma to his body. Michael's body has been released to his family. Toxicology tests will take 6 to 8 weeks. His doctor, Houston cardiologist Conrad Murray, who was living with Jackson, has agreed to be interviewed. He's not suspected of criminal activity. Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of two of his children, Paris and Michael, will get custody as she never relinquished her parental rights.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Late Night: (It Don't Matter If You're) Black or White

People continue to gather at the UCLA medical center, at Michael Jackson's rented residence in Bel-Air and at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

Janet Jackson's spokesman says she's devastated and flying back to California from a pre-filming location. The autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.

How terrible has tonight's television coverage been? I recap here. As for some of the better coverage, see below: [More...]

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Michael Jackson's Brother's News Conference

Update: Really sad to watch the helicopter fly Michael Jackson's body to the morgue where the coroner will do the autopsy.

A news conference with the hospital where Michael Jackson died is about to begin. I will live-blog. (Update: There is no hospital news conference. I've changed the title to his brother's press conference and posted the video. ]

Hasn't started yet but a LAPD police detective gave a little interview. A coroner's investigation is underway. The robbery/homicide division was assigned because of high profile nature of the death. He said "Don't read anything into it."

Hospital conference still to come. Stay tuned. I may have to change channels. CNN's pundits can't stop talking about unproven allegations against Jackson and even bringing up Joe Jackson's alleged childhood abuse of Michael. [More...]

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Michael Jackson Dies of Cardiac Arrest

Update: LA coroner on CNN: At 2:26pm PT Michael Jackson was declared dead. He's evasive but it sounds like he was dead on arrival at the LA Medical Center. (Update: They tried to resuscitate him at the hospital for an hour and failed. His brother Jermaine said his personal physician was with him at his home when he went into cardiac arrest.)

Update: LA Times, CBS and all media outlets except CNN confirms Jackson has died. The hospital reportedly is on lock down as crowds swell around it. (Added: CNN confirms too.)

R.I.P. Michael Jackson. What a sad day. First Farrah, now Michael. Herre's Billie Jean, Live. From the best selling album of all time.

TMZ reports Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest at his home today. While others are reporting he was taken to the hospital, TMZ says he was dead when paramedics arrived and attempts at resusitation failed.

[More...]

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Michael Jackson: Judge Unseals Jury Questions

Post-Verdict
Thursday, June 16

Here are the handwritten questions the jury asked during deliberations in the Michael Jackson trial. (pdf)

The Judge unsealed them today.

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Michael Jackson Verdict: The Last Word

We give the last word on the Michael Jackson verdict to Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, who hilariously takes apart the media and legal analysts covering the Michael Jackson trial. Crooks and Liars has the video.

Second to the last word- for the best take on the verdict by a legal analyst -- goes to CBS's Andrew Cohen, and his column You Just Had to Be There in Court.

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Michael Jackson Verdict: NOT GUILTY ALL COUNTS

Verdict Watch, Day 7
Monday June 13, 2005

Congratulations to Michael Jackson....Not Guilty on all counts! Kudos to Tom Mesereau and team. Shame on DA Tom Sneddon, man on a mission.

Other losers:

Sneddon Press Conference: He's not going to quarrel with the jury's verdict. He has not spoken with accuser or family. Denies that his past history with Michael Jackson had anything to do with his office's decision to file.

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Michael Jackson: Jury Recesses, No Verdict

Verdict Watch, Day 6
Friday, June 9, 2005

The jury has recessed for the weekend without a verdict. There are 2,200 journalists on site.

This is not a surprise. 28 hours of deliberations is not excessive by any stretch, given the 100 pages of jury instructions, 130 witnesses, 14 weeks of testimony and the complex verdict form.

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Defense Continues Opening in Michael Jackson Trial

I'll be over at the Washington Post doing an online chat on the Michael Jackson trial. You can join in here.

Documentary producer Martin Bashir is the first witness.

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Opening Arguments Today in Michael Jackson Trial

Opening arguments are today in the Michael Jackson trial. Some articles with recaps of the issues and central participants:

Update: Testimony will begin Tuesday. The first witness will be Martin Bashir, maker of the British documentary, which will be allowed in evidence.

Original Post
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Jackson Accuser: I Knew More Than He Did

Smoking gun has uncovered another interview between Michael Jackson's young accuser and detectives:

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Michael Jackson Allegations

Martin Bashir's documentary about Michael Jackson aired in February, 2003. The current charges pertain to Jackson's relationship with a 12 year old cancer survivor--which was well documented in the movie--and also was the subject of intense media criticism afterwards. [All articles available on Lexis.com]

People Magazine, 2/24/03:

So why did Jackson agree to let British journalist Martin Bashir trail him around for eight months? "I think Michael just kind of trusted him," says a Jackson-camp insider. Now Jackson, 44, is fighting back. In an effort to counter Bashir and his Granada TV production company, he sold FOX TV hours of his own footage with Bashir and his sleepover pal Gavin Arvizo, a 12-year-old cancer survivor, for $ 5 million. He will help craft it into a two-hour special to air Feb. 20. He also has filed complaints with two British media watchdog groups charging that Bashir breached codes of conduct by showing footage of his three children--Prince Michael I, 6, Paris Michael, 4, and 11-month-old Prince Michael II--and by interviewing Arvizo without the consent of the boy's parents. In addition, a source close to Jackson says, "legal action against [Bashir and Granada] has not been ruled out."

Of course, neither has legal action against Jackson. His blithe talk of hosting juveniles in his bedroom revived discussion of the 1993 case and prompted the Smoking Gun Web site to post court documents from that time....In a letter calling upon Santa Barbara D.A. Tom Sneddon to investigate the pop star's more recent contact with minors, A. Sidney Johnson III, president of Prevent Child Abuse America, the nation's largest such organization, wrote, "Michael Jackson has raised enough red flags for us to be concerned about protecting the welfare of children he comes in contact with, including his own." Sneddon put out word that his office's criminal investigation of Jackson is "open but inactive," just as it was at the time Jackson settled the '93 civil case .... Sneddon also encouraged anyone who felt victimized to come forward.

Meanwhile, Arvizo's divorced parents used the British tabloids to air their differences, both personal and philosophical. "Michael has pet names for all of my children, and Gavin even calls him Daddy," said mom Janet Ventura-Arvizo, 34, who was once so poor that she temporarily lived in a horse stable with her children. "He is the father they never had." She said Gavin and siblings Star, 11, and Davelin, 16, "are hoping to spend a lot more time with him in the future." Dad David, 37, countered that Janet, a former waitress, "sees prestige for herself from the connection." He said that while Jackson "has been very generous to the kids, [he] should not be sharing a room with them."

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